Would you agree that the year of 2020 caused many of us to pay more attention to the actions of our criminal justice system? I anxiously waited to see how our justice system would respond to the deaths of individuals that died in the hands of police across our country.
While I sincerely applaud the work of the police officers who protect our communities and put their lives on the line everyday, I am still concerned that police departments across the country do not hold officers accountable who murder unarmed, non-resisting black and brown men and women. I waited to see how the criminal justice system in Minneapolis would respond to the police officer who killed George Floyd. I was waiting to see if the process would be fair.
According to a NPR article dated, January 12, 2021, the former officer who kneeled on George Floyd's neck will stand on trial alone. The District Judge Peter Cahill ruled that the trial for Derek Chauvin, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd's death, will begin on March 8. According to USA Today, the ex-police officer charged with killing George Floyd, Derek Chauvin was arrested on May 29, four days after Floyd died, but was released from jail on a $1 million non-cash bond ( which is $100,000 to $150,000 in collateral) in early October.
Mr. Cahill cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as reason for trying Chauvin's case separately from the three other former Minneapolis police officers who were at the scene when Floyd cried out that he could not breathe.
The other defendants Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, will be tried together.
They are facing lesser charges, including aiding and abetting the murder of Floyd. Their trial is scheduled to begin August 23.
According to an article from the Star Tribune, February, 4, 2021,Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. All four men are out on bond.
My questions are: (1) why did it take FOUR (4) DAYS FOR THE LAW ENFORCERS TO ARREST AND CHARGE DEREK CHAUVIN WHEN HIS CRIME WAS CAUGHT ON TAPE FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE? Obviously there is a serious gap in our criminal justice system when it comes to law enforcement officers. Without a shadow of doubt, Chauvin killed George Floyd, it was on tape and our criminal justice system did nothing for Four Days. (2) Why was he allowed to leave the state of Minnesota until the trial, which is not scheduled until March. Is our criminal justice system based on Money or Laws of Justice?????
It appears to me that Mr. Chauvin is being allowed a nice vacation from October to March. Our criminal justice system seems to be awarding him for killing another BLACK man. What wonderful privileges and opportunities are afforded this ex-police officer by our criminal justice system. Obviously I am not an attorney and I am not acquainted with the laws of our land. But, I am familiar with fair, just and unbiased behavior.
Another thought to be considered, if my son (a black man) had committed this crime to a white male do you think things would be different? Let me assure you our biased criminal justice system would Not allow (my son) to leave the state until the court date was established. Our criminal justice system would not allow him a non-cash bail opportunity, mainly because he does not have $100,000 in collateral. (Which is why so many black and brown men are in jail, they can not afford the bail).
According to an article in CNN, Ellison was appointed by Governor Tim Walz, to take over the case from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Ellison, former Democratic congressman, cautioned against a rush to judgement, citing the difficulty of prosecuting police officers. He said officers are rarely charged with crimes for violence against black men, and even in those rare cases, juries have repeatedly shown an unwillingness to convict. The list of failed cases is long.
I can agree with the statement, "George Floyd's death is the symptom of a disease. We will not wake up one day and have the disease of systemic racism cured for us".
It is odd that the US National Security adviser Robert Obrien, from the Trump administration says "there's no systemic racism in policing". In response to his comment, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, said, "Its not just in police departments across the country, but there is systemic racism in pretty much everything in this country."
What can we do to correct this unjust criminal justice system?. We must SPEAK UP. WE CAN NO LONGER BE SILENT. We must continue to make policy changes at all levels of our criminal justice system. Our bail system need to be reformed, we must vote in judges who have integrity and true justice ideals. We need to put in place new statues and laws at the local and state level that supersede the memorandum of understanding of FOP and their local governments. If a defendant is a police officer that has killed a person who has not resisted arrest, did not try or run, restrained by police and/or in police custody, new protocols need to be in place that hinders law makers from from continuing these injustices in our communities.
The family of George Floyd started a Facebook Go-Fund-Me page and raised over $13 million. Those funds should certainly help the family with attorney fees, trust funds for George's children and other family needs. I certainly appreciate the national community helping with funding for this family. I am very aware that all the money in the world does not bring George back to life.
In closing I want to share this scripture: Proverbs 31:8-9
Speak Up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly.